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TTU K-12 Staff Members Attend Graduation in Brazil

by Timothy Howard, Digital Media Coordinator

TTU K-12 staff members recently traveled the globe to represent Texas Tech abroad. Dr. Justin Louder, Associate Vice Provost for eLearning and Academic Partnerships, Jared Lay, Director for International Partnerships, and Jeff Oldham, Principal for International Partnerships, were able to travel internationally to attend a graduation ceremony for TTU K-12 students from Niterói, Brazil.

The three staff members journeyed over 4,000 miles to attend the graduation ceremony of TTU K-12 students that were also receiving an education through Liberty Education, one of TTU K-12's partner schools. The trip also provided the opportunity to visit with other schools about the benefits that an online Texas Tech homeschooling program could offer their students.

"It was very rewarding to see the students at the graduation," said Dr. Louder. "They, along with their parents, were so excited. The weekend we were there was not only their graduation from TTU K-12 but also their Brazilian high school graduations. This meant that 26 students got to have two high school graduations that they were able to celebrate." Dr. Louder went on, "It meant a lot to them that we made the trip to attend and celebrate their many accomplishments. We also got to hear from a student about how their older sibling that graduated from TTU K-12 two years ago had come back to attend the graduation and felt that TTU K-12 had become a family affair."

Jared Lay shared Dr. Louder's sentiments.

"The students were so receptive to staff members from Texas Tech being in attendance," said Lay. "It really meant something big to them. These are some of our Red Raiders across the world. It is like an extended family and it's getting bigger every day."

The staff members were also able to speak with the graduates about what is next for them after high school.

"A few of the graduates will be attending United States higher education institutions," said Dr. Louder." Some of them will even be coming to attend Texas Tech University in Lubbock."

During the trip, the staff members were also able to provide training to new tutors and coordinators at some of the latest TTU K-12 partner schools in Brazil.

"We gave them an overview of our program and taught them what a typical school day would look like for one of our students," said Jeff Oldham. "We walked them through how a student enters our program, what it is like for a student to go through the program and talked about the many benefits of graduating from TTU K-12."

Oldham also reflected on some of the highlights of the trip.

"Any time we were able to meet students, it was definitely a highlight. It puts a face and name with what we do at TTU K-12 which makes our responsibilities more personal."

Dr. Louder also spoke about how he hopes the trip was able to benefit TTU K-12 as well as Texas Tech University as a whole.

"I think that any time we can strengthen partnerships that we already have in place and show the Texas Tech values to our partner schools and students wherever they may be, it is beneficial not only to TTU K-12 but to the University in general. The work that the three of us did on this trip, and from prior trips when Dr. Melanie Hart visited, was able to bring the value of a Texas Tech education to students that would otherwise not have access. I think what is really important about these types of trips and partnerships is that we are expanding the reach of Texas Tech beyond Lubbock and the United States."



TTU K-12 is an online kindergarten through 12th grade school accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The elementary, middle and high school options meet the same rigorous standards as traditional brick and mortar schools, but have no physical location or limitations. Students can enroll in courses through TTU K-12's full-time, diploma-seeking program, in which they take all the state-required courses and assessments to graduate. Upon graduation, students receive a Texas high school diploma.

Dr. Justin Louder, Jared Lay and Jeff Oldham pose alongside TTU K-12 graduates in Brazil.
Dr. Justin Louder, Jared Lay and Jeff Oldham with the TTU K-12 graduates in Brazil.
TTU K-12 graduates pose in black caps and gowns on stage.
TTU K-12 graduates in Brazil. 
Dr. Justin Louder, Jeff Oldham and Jared Lay stand with Instructors and Coordinators as they show the guns up symbol and hold a Texas Tech flag.
Dr. Justin Louder, Jeff Oldham and Jared Lay with instructors and coordinators. 
Jared Lay stands at the front of a room facing listeners.
Jared Lay provides training.
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